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Consumer/Health Groups Urge Treasury Department To Act In 2013 To Require Standardized, Comprehensive Labeling Of Alcoholic Beverages

Letter to Treasury Secretary-Designate Jack Lew Cites Recent Federal Trade Commission Order as Setting the Stage for Final Action

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than thirty years after first urging the federal government to require meaningful labeling on alcoholic beverages, a coalition of consumer advocacy and public interest groups is appealing to incoming Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to make 2013 the year in which the Treasury Department issues final rules that add alcohol content and calorie information to the labels of all alcoholic beverages.

Today, alcoholic beverages are the only major category of consumable products not required to carry label information summarizing the basic characteristics of these products.

In a letter to Secretary-Designate Lew, four leading public interest groups – Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Federation of America, National Consumers League and Shape Up America! – used a new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruling affecting the labeling of flavored malt beverages to press for action from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) on final rules that will mandate easy-to-read, standardized "Alcohol Facts" labels on all beer, wine and distilled spirits products, similar to the popular "Nutrition Facts" labels now required on foods and non-alcoholic beverages.

Specifically, the four public interest groups urged Secretary-Designate Lew to expedite a final TTB rulemaking that will require the following information on all beer, wine and spirits' labels: serving size, calories per serving, fluid ounces of alcohol per serving, percent alcohol by volume, the definition of a "standard drink," number of drinks per container, and the Dietary Guidelines recommendation on moderate drinking (a maximum of one standard drink per day for women and two for men).

According to the joint letter, "Anything short of this basic information would leave alcoholic beverages as an enormous blind spot in the American diet and would be a failure of the regulatory process."

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